The Thai American National Internship Program (TANIP) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Thai American students and young graduates to gain a firsthand look at the American government and political system in Washington D.C., and to reflect on the role they, as future leaders, might play in enhancing the voice of the Thai community in their states.
In 2015, the Royal Thai Embassy initiated a program to provide Thai-American youths with the opportunity to intern/shadow in various offices at the national level. This experience helps participants develop a stronger understanding of how government operates by experiencing it from an insider’s perspective. The program prepares young leaders to participate in the political, legislative and policy arenas, and is dedicated to developing the skills of individuals who are interested in public service. Not only is this an invaluable professional experience, but it also benefits the Thai community by increasing the interest of Thais in American politics.
Sponsored by the Royal Thai Embassy, in consultation with the U.S.-Asia Institute, the program is organized annually to provide the opportunity for eight (8) Thai American students and young graduates to come to Washington D.C. from late May to July (8 weeks) to get hands-on experience in the policymaking process.
During the first week orientation, participants would get an inside look at how government works, hearing from Washington policymakers and influencers who play key roles in the American political system. Following the orientation, the students would visit key institutions across Washington, including the Capitol, Federal agencies, the Supreme Court, think tanks, associations and businesses. They would attend congressional and judicial proceedings, briefings on topics of interest, and meet many key participants, policy makers and influencers (including lawmakers, Administration officials, lobbyists, educators, journalists and others). On weekends, they would explore the city and interact with other Americans and foreign nationals in a wide range of social settings.
Participants will primarily be paired with congressional office and other elected officials from their home district, unless otherwise requested. Due to the highly competitive nature of these positions, placement with a congressional office is not guaranteed. In these instances, participants will be paired with local think tanks, NGOs and business organizations. While participants’ background and interests may not be in politics, they are encouraged to intern and make connections with elected officials, their staff and key influencers in Washington. This will not only help facilitate understanding of how government works, but also equip participants with insights on how to make the concerns of those in their respective Thai community heard at the national level. The students will also spend one week at the Royal Thai Embassy, gaining a hands-on experience in a consular setting.
Participants may be asked to attend briefings on Thailand and other topics of interest vis-à-vis the bilateral and regional relationship with the United States. Though participants are not experts on the issue, they are in a unique position of having ancestral ties to Thailand and a better understanding of cultural nuances in the relationship. They will also be asked to write a short analysis on the experience. We firmly believe that those chosen for the program have a role to play in informing U.S. policymakers and others about Thailand and its areas of interest.
Format: The program includes one week of orientation where students will be introduced to how the American government works through a series of meetings with policy makers and influencers from government, business, academia and the diplomatic community. The student will spend a week interning at the Royal Thai Embassy to gain insight into that perspective on Thai-U.S. relations. They will then be placed in shadowing/internship positions for six weeks of hands-on experience.
Expenses: Participants are responsible for all expenses related to the program to include travel to Washington DC and return to home location; housing (click here for a list of available housing options); food; ground transportation throughout the program; and cultural and spending money. All participants must, after acceptance into the program, show proof of health insurance. Scholarships may be available to defray part of the costs of the program with amount to be determined.
Acceptance: Eight Thai-American students and young graduates will be accepted for this program. (Additional candidates who meet the qualifications may be accepted at the discretion of the selection committee.)
1. Candidate qualifications
- Age 18-25 years old
- An undergraduate degree OR enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in good academic standing
- U.S. citizenship
- Leadership ability and good interpersonal skills
- Record of community service
2. Required documents:
The application process for this program will begin in October. Candidates can access the online application by visiting the Royal Thai Embassy website at www.thaiembdc.org/TANIP
Other required documents:
- Statement of Intent and Impact
- A copy of most recent transcript
- A copy of ID, passport or other official document as proof of US citizenship
- A copy of parent’s ID, passport or any official document as proof of Thai citizenship of the candidate’s parent (s)
- A copy of voter registration card
- An academic letter of recommendation
- A letter of recommendation from a community service organization, preferably a Thai American organization (Optional)
1) A selection committee comprised of qualified individuals from the U.S.-Asia Institute and the Royal Thai Embassy will consider the applications. Qualified candidates will be contacted directly for a phone or video conference interview with the selection committee.
2) Final candidates will be contacted directly and the results will be announced publicly on the Royal Thai Embassy’s website.
For more information, contact the Royal Thai Embassy at email@example.com or 202-298-4799
TANIP Alumni Experiences
Charles Tantakool, Washington University
Read Charles’ Experience as a Thai-American Second Generation in Washington
Read Charles’ First Week Impressions of the Thai-American National Internship Program (TANIP)
Apisra Srivanich-Raper, the College of Idaho
Read Apisra’s Experience as a Thai-American Second Generation in Washington
Lennox Chaiveera, University of California, Berkley
Sophiaya Chacon-Hyder, Los Angeles City College
Alit Ponkaew, Northern Illinois University
Justin Cobkit, University of Georgia
Read Justin’s Experience as a Thai-American Second Generation in Washington, DC
Ella Duangkaew, University of Pennsylvania
Read Ella’s Experience as a Thai-American Second Generation in Washington, DC
Read Ella’s Impression of the first Thai-American National Internship
Surapoj Pochanatwong, University of North Texas
Read Surapoj’s Experience as a Thai-American Second Generation in Washington, DC
Chakapong Soundara, George Mason University
Read Chakapong’s Experience as a Thai-American Second Generation in Washington, DC
Natchaya May Vutrapongvatana, New York University
Read May’s Impression of the first Thai-American National Internship Program
Read May’s First Week Experience as a Thai-American Second Generation in Washington, DC